How to Move Without Being an A-Hole


Josh Bowman just moved into a new apartment, and wants to share the many bits of wisdom he has learned from moving way too many times in his life.

  1. If you have the money, hire a moving company. It’s less stress on your friends, less stress on you, and your stuff is a lot less likely to get destroyed. Just make sure you double-check reviews on Yelp.
  2. Get enough boxes. You don’t have enough boxes yet. Get more boxes. Trust me. I KNOW YOU THINK YOU HAVE ENOUGH BOXES, BUT YOU DON’T. YOU NEVER HAVE ENOUGH BOXES.
  3. Tape up drawers or remove them. If you don’t tape up drawers or remove them, the drawers will slide out and bonk you or your friend in the knee, right on the corner of the drawer.
  4. Pack before your moving day. This may seem obvious to most people, but in fact there is a small sub-section of humans who do not understand that you need to pack before the day of the move. These humans live in the clouds and dance with fairies and have no discernible life skills.
  5. Make it clear who is in charge. You. You are in charge. Don’t be afraid to boss your friends/the movers around. They’ll appreciate your clear direction.
  6. Think through all the elements of the move. If there are several stops, plan out the best route. If you are labeling your boxes (which you should do) make it clear what rooms each box goes in. Plan it all before people arrive and stick to your plan (unless your plan is too wacky, and you don’t have enough fake moustaches and bowler hats).
  7. Time is valuable, so shut up and get to it. Everybody is happiest once the move is over, so don’t dilly-dally. As soon as people show up, boxes should be moving out the door to the truck. You can talk over pizza and beer.
  8. If you are getting a U-Haul, get there really early. Sometimes it takes forever at those places, so better to take more time in the morning. I’ve gone down to the rental place before they opened, and had to wait around. And then the guy showed up and he was obviously hungover…but I still got my truck, so yay for me!
  9. Say thanks, and mean it! I know you’re tired, but saying “thank you” goes a long way. Thank them for being a friend. Traveled down the road and back again. Their heart is true, they’re a pal and a confidant. (yep, I can do this all day…)
  10. Remember, the move is just half the journey. Unpacking, purging, and setting up your new place can take days. Be prepared to live in squalor for a while after you move. It’s all worth it, though, to know you’ve found your dream ho…wait, are all these outlets dead? And how come the light switches are reversed? Do I have to have this light switch on for that outlet to work? Where did this pile of sawdust come from? Is that a rat….?
About Josh Bowman

Josh Bowman is a professional fundraiser, story-teller, comedian, and blogger. He has worked and consulted in Vancouver, New York, and now Toronto for almost a decade. Josh improvises around Toronto, including regular shows with Opening Night Theatre, and also blogs for the Huffington Post. You can email Josh here.. If you want to know more about Josh, check this post and this post out first.


  1. Copyleft says:

    #9 touches on an earlier point, but it needs to come right out and say it directly: Thank your friends by buying them food. A handshake or a sincere “I’m grateful” is nice, but it doesn’t mean squat until you buy the pizza or Chinese for relaxing after the move.

    • Yes yes yes! Totally agree copyleft. Your friends have taken (usually at the very least) a few hours out of their time to haul your stuff from one place to another. The least you can do is pay for the meal after. What’s worse, don’t ever ask your friend/s what beer/scotch etc they like to drink during the move with the promise of sitting down afterwards and kicking back, and then after the move forget all about it!

  2. Great lists. I think you are dead on that not having packed before moving day is a total a-hole move. I am going to tweet this article to U-haul and suggest they include it in their informational material.

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